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Sunday, February 4, 2007

browsing through artist heaven in Shanghai

Spend a whole afternoon walking around 50 Moganshan Road. And loved it. If you really want to get that feeling of inspiration, things happening, excitement and change, go there. Everywhere people were busy preparing for or opening new stores, painters had their own studios and nice little caf'ees were selling coffee and art books. It is one of those old industry buildings you find everywhere in big cities. But one would wish that in Amsterdam such an athmosphere of inspiration could exist. We're definitely over the hill as far as new inspiration goes, at this point in time (although two Chinese in a gay bay I briefly visited were thinking of Amsterdam as gay heaven. I did not want to disappoint them, for them it still at least will look the part).
Will explain all this in my book (and see below for the cultural discussion I had at the JWT office).
So many great paintings. Have to remember them by heart though, because the one thing very infuriating was my Canon Ixus. It took pictures well enough, but when downloading them on my computer just now, they were all gone..
I found that much art focusses on the aspects of change within the Shanghai/Chinese culture. I can remember Zhang Jing Li, who painted 'Stone Lion and David', in which he portrayed a whole group of Chinese who literally break through works of Italian art (the David by Michelangelo)
Who's David and who's the lion now?
Equally impressive were paintings by a painter who depicted the desillusions of the new Chinese culture. In big threefolds he first painted a girl in Mao style clothing, obeying, the middle part was an uneasy close up of a woman's face with a bandage over her eyes in monochrome colors, screaming. And the third part was an almost photografic painting of a girl in a 'massage salon', in half light, lonely and waiting. Gave me the shivers, but I can tell you, they were also impressive besides their political statement.
Sortlike statements came back to me everywhere. Ceramic artist Tu Feng had 6 Chinese sitting on a very tired looking dragon, urging it on. In bright yellow.. Or three chinese caracters sitting on eachothers shoulders, one with a strangling cord in his hands. Tu Feng was the name Li Bao'en chose as his artistic pseudonym, which can be translated directly as "Earth and Wind". "Tufeng" as a phrase means "folklore". He makes sculptures out of clay and bakes them into ceramics in his hometown in Shandong Province, transporting them to Shanghai by truck and train.
So the Dutch jury can report that changes bring on insecurity in China and art reflects this. Just as we were discussing at the offices of JWT, during my seminar. Part of the culture is vibrant and exciting, but some have afterthoughts. The best ingredient for great art..
For me, it was one of the best days, browsing through, watching, enjoying, marvelling, whatever you want to call it. And after coffee I even found a book about the Chinese painter that really sparked my interest for the first time: Yue Minjun. His immense paintings of the same Chinese man with the most enormous smile on his face still make me happy looking at them. See pic and..


Anonymous said...

waarom moeten de verhalen zo lang zijn.
kun je niet gewoon terugkomen en je werk doen
namens de fanclub

anke said...

volgens mijn Canon Ixus verkoper kun je uiteindelijk alles nog terugvinden op je geheugen. Ook zelf gewiste foto's. Kost wat (tijd of geld dat weet ik niet) maar lijkt me het proberen waard.

Tom Kniesmeijer said...

Een goede tip van Anke! Nu maar proberen, dan..
Voor de fanclub: ik ben nu eenmaal wollig.. Terugkomen doe ik vast wel, mijn werk, dat wordt dan wel de grote vraag..